I've been meaning to write about the following for some time now.
For a mother, seeing your baby for the first time is monumental. You've dreamed about it...you've pictured it in your mind...you've waited, and waited and waited. Any mother will tell you that a newborn baby looks nothing like the glossy magazine ads you are bombarded with during pregnancy. Tiny heads are "misshapen"...skin is dotted with baby acne....
The first thing I remember about my beautiful son was his cleft chin. His quivering little body...his deep eyes. His purple nose. Pediatricians exclaimed that his tiny face must have scraped my pelvic bone during his descent into the world. All we knew was that he was finally here; healthy, strong, and beautiful.
I nursed W nonstop during his first weeks. I watched his little nose wiggle up and down, like a rabbit, as he suckled. This little nose became red. A very deep red. It seemed to grow in size....unlike any kind of bruise.
Dermatologists told us that Wesley has a hemangioma, a very common type of benign tumor, that looks like a deep red build up of blood vessels. Doctors are unsure what causes them, and therefore know of no way to prevent them. These "strawberry marks" disappear on their own over the course of a few years, and generally need no medical treatment....unless they are close to any mucous membranes, such as the nose or eyes.
1 month old
Hemangiomas grow at a fast rate during the first 6 months of life. Doctors were afraid that this growth would prevent cartiledge in W's nose from forming correctly...his entire nose could "collapse"...and major reconstructive surgery would be needed. It could also have grown into his eyes.
Reluctantly, W was put on medications to prevent growth of the hemangioma. He gained much weight, and drooled nonstop. We traveled over an hour to see a pediatric dermatologist ,who I struggled to trust,once a week. He spent a weekend in the hospital. I never left the room once, and convinced the night nurse to let us cosleep.
3 months old
W stands out in a crowd, and once somebody meets him, they rarely forget his face....the baby with the red nose. I grow weary of well-intentioned (or just nosy) people asking me "what is wrong with his nose?" Sometimes, people can be cruel. I constantly hear commenting...I notice the stares we get. At Christmas, I grow tiresome of the rudolph jokes....people have exclaimed that "they hope we will get it removed"...worst of all, a stranger has actually accused me of hitting him in the face, thus causing the redness.
Halloween, 2009....matching red noses...
Maybe this seems petty....after all, our baby is healthy, sweet, and strong! Why should I care what anyone thinks or says? Ah, to an extent I don't. To an extent, we all don't. But to say that I go through life without a single care for what others think of me would be a lie. And I am not ashamed to admit it.
A few years back, heavy makeup was my best friend. As an acne sufferer, I did meticulous spackle jobs on my face every morning. During my short career as a commercial model, I hated showing up to a shoot without makeup on. I hid behind powder, blush, and eyeliner daily. Photos looked beautiful....but how much of them were really me? Outter beauty is such a facade...anyone can look fantastic in the right lighting and with a skilled photographer.
Time has passed...dermatologists have offered a laser treatment to prematurely reduce the redness on W's nose. Apparently, this is a popular choice for parents in our situation. "Will it hurt?", I ask. "Like rubberbands snapping against the face", the doctor replies. A laser in a one-year olds face? Just to "correct" his appearance? But, this is my baby. This is him! Why should he be altered? I suppose he wasn't meant to look like everybody else. This is his spirit.
11 months old
W's nose will most likely be flesh toned by the time he is school age. People still comment, of course. Children ask questions, as they naturally will. A dear friend of mine once told a child that W was "kissed by an angel that wore red lipstick." This remains my favorite response for children and adults alike.
Present day, 14 months old (hallway fashion show...!)
This past weekend...
I haven't worn skin powder in months. I feel fresh, confident, and revived. I feel beautiful and important...even though a comb rarely touches my head these days, much less a makeup brush! This whole experience has been a lesson learned; and an important one....My son inspires me in everything I do, whether he knows it yet or not. Thank you for reading!
No makeup. Just skin.